Using Acid to Cut a Precise Metal Part is a Modern Marvel
The popular TV series Modern Marvels features the unique process
of Chemical Etching in an upcoming episode
– September 26, 2007.
When looking at a small metal part,
few people stop to consider how it was made, but even fewer would guess
it is cut using acid. However, that is exactly what is done at Fotofab,
and it is just the kind of unique ingenuity that Modern Marvels has
been exploring for 13 seasons.
On October 1st, the popular History
Channel TV Series will air an episode entirely devoted to the most incredible
uses of acids, including Fotofab’s unique process of “Photochemical
Fotofab has been making precision parts through chemical
etching at its Chicago plant for over 40 years, making parts to be used
in anything from tanks to surgical instruments.
The process begins
when a sheet of metal is coated with a polymer that is resistant to
acid but sensitive to UV light.
When this sheet is exposed to
light and put in a special solution, it creates a mask for the part.
This can create features as fine as .003” in any shape designed
using computer drafting software.
Finally, the coated sheet is
bathed in acid, leaving behind a sheet of precise metal parts to the
exact specifications desired.
Although acids can be very dangerous,
Fotofab’s commitment to safety and environmental protection ensure that
there is a safe work environment and the drain on natural resources
Other benefits of this unique process over traditional
forms of manufacturing include a faster turnaround and lower cost, but
as Modern Marvels viewers are sure to discover, it is also much more
The episode featuring photochemical etching will
air Oct 1 on the History Channel.
Details, as well as more information
about Modern Marvels, can be found at
For more information on Fotofab’s precision parts fabricating
capabilities and to review Fotofab’s Design Guide:
Founded in 1967, Fotofab continues to refine
the photochemical machining process, (also known as chemical etching
or milling) to produce custom precision metal parts in an efficient
and environmentally friendly manner.
A veteran supplier to the
aerospace, automotive, defense, electronic, telecommunications, and
medical manufacturing industries, Fotofab is among the leading suppliers
of precision metal parts including RF/EMI shields, electrical contacts,
screens, connector housings, and more. Fotofab is ISO 9001:2000 certified.